1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Duolingo
  4. >
  5. Translations by non-native sp…


Translations by non-native speakers?

I've been doing a bunch of translations recently, using the new wiki-style editor. I've noticed that quite a lot of translations are done by people who clearly have major troubles with English.

I don't mean to bring anybody down but this doesn't seem like a good idea. Sure, we can fix them and rate them and whatever but maybe you should be blocked from translating, for example, Italian articles into English, unless you've specified in your profile options that you are fluent in English.

It's a bit odd to go into a 100% translated article and find almost nothing is right. Hopefully, those articles don't ever get sent off to the customers of duolingo.

April 6, 2013



Being a user, I don't look upon my participation as a work of a translator. Learning on Duolingo is fun and challenging, and making translations is a way to learn and practice, not to judge other people. If Luis who founded this site is fine with giving everybody the opportunity to participate and contribute, why should we the users argue for any restrictions? If Duolingo's founders aimed at establishing a professional translation community, they might well have organized it otherwise.

I'd suggest we just do our best at learning and leave the team decide if anybody should be blocked. If you come across a very poor translation, just delete it and write your own from scratch as if this sentence has never been translated.


Hahaha ! That's pure wisdom there. I honestly got carried away by thinking we were the ones who should judge the final work made by Duolingers, while in fact this final work is not made for us to judge.

It has nothing to do with adding suggestions on a feature or something like that, because the fact that people with poor English knowledge literally destroy whole texts from the Internet (well destroy their translation really), doesn't affect in any way our experience as Duolingers, and therefore doesn't need any "fix", other than the ones the staff might decide to implement. We should concentrate on improving what really matters for us as Duolingers.

Thanks Olimo for clearing up my mind, I totally agree with you.

(no sarcasm in this post !)


I'd like a button to click next to the "100% translated" texts which says "Click here if you are a native English speaker and this translation is nonsense". I've seen several such translations and really it put me off bothering.

Then in those that are not yet 100% there have been several where my perfectly reasonable translation was given an Oops That Doesn't Appear to be Correct but thanks anyway, ... and then the ones to choose between were all nonsense written by people who didn't speak English to level 3 yet.


Maybe these people can translate into their native language? I would think their translations would be more useful and accurate if they could. Even if they were native speakes of languages like Greek, or Pillipino, that maybe don't have as many translators, would still be immensely useful.

Although, it is good practice for them I suppose. But I highly doubt these awkwardly translated versions get sent to a duolingo customer - the people that run this site are far from idiots.


Well, I agree that having people not fluent in English translating TO English is not ideal. If it was the other way around it could work better though (it's always harder to express yourself than to understand).

On the other hand I'm not sure a simple option to activate would be enough to prevent this from happening. I mean if people click for the first time on "immersion", they will see that they can't translate, so if it's done correctly there will be a tip to tell them how they can start to translate. They go into their settings, check a box and voilààààà, they can translate. So in the end we'll be left with the same problem.

I think a small test to pass would be good, maybe a few minutes long. Just to make sure the translators know the basic grammar and conjugation rules ?


Maybe.... just worried if they would be interested in joining Duolingo. I think that would block their minds. In the beginning, it's not quite hard to understand what has been taught if you have a minimal knowledge of english. Then, they would learn a new language while improving their english. I think that wouldnt be much fair once most of languages on duolingo are just for english speakers. They dont need to be set apart. I think a big warning telling them to starting translating just after overcome a specific number of skills would work better.


Thank you for thinking about Duolingo's interests, users are always welcome to share feedback on translation experience. Immersion better allows the community to work together on texts compared to the previous version where people would work more on their own. The advantage of this system is that people with different backgrounds can share their knowledge which may lead to a better end product. People had problems with the previous system as incorrect translations could be accepted as final. Thanks for checking on the quality of English. Your participation helps to create a better end product as well as a better learning experience for your fellow users.


How do translations get accepted as "final" in this system? Like I said, I could view the list of "translated" articles and find some entirely incorrect stuff, from top to bottom.


good with you, sometime, the french traduction are nonsense! Gotta work on that...

Learn a language in just 5 minutes a day. For free.